CANONSBURG – Dave Palone has more than 15,000 victories in his illustrious harness racing career.
But the Adios seems to have his number.
Palone, a Rices Landing native, saw his chance to win a second Delvin Miller Adios and first since 1999 dissipate when his 3-year-old pacer Ultimate Beachboy came up lame 90 minutes before Saturday afternoon’s race at The Meadows Racetrack.
Instead of battling for the $220,000 first-place prize in this $450,000 event, Palone was relegated to watching it from the paddock.
“That’s a tough one,” said Palone, the winningest driver in North America harness racing history. “I really feel bad for my buddies. Every year, they give me a drive in this race. They always give me a chance (to win). I’m sure we’ll get another chance down the road.”
Palone’s buddies include the Ron Burke Stable, and they were just as disappointed about Ultimate Beachboy sustaining gravel foot, which is a cut that could lead to an infection.
“He’ll be fine in a couple of days,” said Burke. “We’re not going to race him until it seems good again. We wanted to warm him up (before the Adios final) … and he was sore. If he wasn’t right, we’re not going to race the horse.”
In last year’s Adios, Palone was driving Sweet Lou, who at the time was the 2011 Pacing Colt of the Year and was the 7-5 favorite for the race. Sweet Lou won his elimination race but faded in the final, finishing a disappointing fourth.
Palone’s lone Adios win came in 1999 with Washington VC.
Still a nice payday
While Palone sat out the Adios, he did drive five horses to victory on the 18-race card: Magic Starling in the first, The Face of Love in the second; Fits Z Tam in the sixth; Invictus Hanover in the 10th; a division of the Gov. David L. Lawrence; and Lucys Pearl in the 11th, a division of the Mary Lib Miller.
On the day, Palone brought in $69,487 and returned an average of $20.20 on a $2 bet. Burke Stables earned $74,887.
The top three pacers in last year’s Adios were in the same race at last night’s elimination race for the U.S. Pacing Championships at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.
Bol the Duer, the 2012 Adios winner, Sweet Lou, the 2012 Adios favorite, and A Rocknroll Dance, were entered in the sixth race.
Sweet Lou won the event, turning in a time of 1:49.01. Bol the Duer nosed out A Rocknroll Dance for second place.
Attendance was 3,496 and the handle was $1.065 million. … A storm dumped rain in the early part of the day, but the track was clear and was even watered down for the Adios final. … Martini Hanover won the $50,000 Adios Consolation in 1:50.2 for Brian Sears, trainer Chris Ryder and owner Robert Mondillo. … Many Adios drivers rushed away after the final to meet assignments at other tracks. Sears’ journey was especially ambitious with drives at Yonkers and the Meadowlands. “Three tracks, three sizes – half, five-eighths, mile – in one day,” he said. … Somwherovrarainbow and Montrell Teague won the Adio Voloo, a 3-year-old filly pace.